#05 Types of Questions

A bad host will ask closed-ended questions that lead to conversational dead ends while a good host will set you up with open-ended questions that help the interview flow and your message to be heard.

Simply put, closed-ended questions are those which can be answered with a "yes" or "no," while open-ended questions require more thought and engaged answers.

That said, closed-ended questions do have their place in a good interview, usually when the host is trying to compare the answers of different guests or only have time for a quick response.

Closed-ended questions do not allow the respondent to explain that they do not understand the question or do not have an opinion on the issue. You can easily spot them as they usually start with verbs, such as “Are,” “Will,” “Is,” “Have,” “Did,” and even contractions such as “Aren't,” “Didn't,” and “Won't.” Closed-ended questions gradually bring conversation to a convergence on a single point or decision since it is answered with a “yes” or a “no.”

An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful, answer using the guest’s own, and often specialist, knowledge and feelings. The opposite of a closed-ended question, open-ended questions are usually identified by the five “W’s”. “What, Where, Who, When, Why.” You may also hear “How” as well as a multitude of similar words that cannot be answered with “yes or no.”

Open-ended questions allow guests to include more information, feelings, attitudes and understanding of the subject. Remember, you are here to tell your story and to be heard.

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